I’ve begun to believe that a multiples pregnancy has left me somewhat shell shocked. For starters, it’s taken me one year and eight months to finally open up about it. It’s clear how the story ends; I mean, the twinadoes are 13 months old now!
I previously referenced a new language I was forced to learn while I was pregnant with the twins. From that first ultrasound on, I was no longer a woman experiencing a typical pregnancy. Now, this was a “multiples” pregnancy. All of a sudden I had gone from contemplating being a mom, to totally nailing this pregnancy thing, to all of a sudden being a mom of multiples. I also came to learn of the word “singleton,” in other words, the kind of pregnancy I wasn’t having; the one where the mom-to-be is only cooking one bun in the oven.
I’d be lying if I said idea of housing two kids over the next nine months didn’t scare me. Of course I was f***ing scared. I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to do this with one baby and now there was a second one along for the ride. I wondered how this was possible; wasn’t it supposed to be hard getting pregnant? I’ve been known to be an overachiever but this was much more of an undertaking than I had imagined.
For the most part, my pregnancy was pretty unremarkable. I had the usual complaints one is allowed when playing incubator to a growing human(s). William and I did the typical things parents-to-be do when eagerly awaiting the arrival of their baby(ies.) We found a place to live (our tiny, two bedroom second floor apartment was no longer an option,) we researched items for a baby registry, we named our babies, hell we even took a twin prep class! (Highly, highly recommended by the way- let me know if you want further details about this.) As things moved along, I was thrilled to get to feel my babies tap dancing in my belly, exhausted as sleeping was beginning to be non existent, and sick with heartburn. For almost the whole time, my son sat contently, in prime birthing position, his head crushing my pelvis while my daughter sat breeched with her head in my rib cage. Little jerks.
I was diligent in my prenatal care, attending all of my prenatal appointments like a good mommy, but my OB sent me to labor and delivery QUITE OFTEN “just in case.” On one occasion she sent me because I was a little “crampy,” (a completely normal pregnancy symptom) and they didn’t have the necessary equipment to monitor me and the babies. Another time after a freak thing at work which included a carbon monoxide scare, it was suggested I go and get checked out just to be safe. While in labor and delivery, Baby A, was screwing around and they kept me overnight. So, when I went to a routine appointment at 31 weeks pregnant and my doctor suggested again that I go to L&D I was really pissed.
Here’s another vocabulary word I learned: shortening cervix. Apparently this is something common with multiples pregnancies. The thin membrane protecting my babies from basically dropping out of me was shortened from the pressure of exactly that; carrying two babies. This was brought to my attention early into my pregnancy and watched closely. At this particular appointment my blood pressure was a little high and that, coupled with my shortening cervix, was enough to be told to get my butt to the hospital. This time I was told that I’d most likely get steroid shots to mature the babies’ lungs in the event that I did go into labor before the marked day.
I reluctantly went to labor and delivery, bitching the whole drive there and commenting on the phone to my dad that it couldn’t be anything too serious as they were having me drive myself to the hospital. I sat in the valet line (I was far too big already, and lazy, to walk from the parking lot to the entrance) and I furiously shoved everything I had brought with me to work that day for lunch because these people were notorious for telling me I couldn’t eat while I was there. I was going to get one over on them this time. Plus, the last thing these guys wanted was an angry, pregnant, and HUNGRY Nicole on their hands.
I got checked in, my blood pressure was normal. I rolled my eyes; pissed again. They got me set up for the first steroid shot. I knew they were going to admit me because the steroids are given in a two shot series; the second being administered exactly 24 hours after the first. They also hooked me up to magnesium because, apparently, I was having slight contractions which I didn’t even know. I met the doctor on call, who proclaimed that I would never be seeing him again because “we weren’t having babies today.” I begged to be released by Friday, two days later, since my baby shower was scheduled for that weekend. William met me, got me settled in a room and sat with my while I got ready for a long, uncomfortable night in the hospital.
I felt really messed up from the magnesium and it was giving me an awful headache. I continued to have contractions but was not in, or anywhere near, labor. Around midnight I was put on oxygen and was told one baby wasn’t being very cooperative and they were going to have me lay in a different position to get a better reading on baby. I tried figuring out how they keep track of two babies heart beats when I could feel these kids moving around like my uterus was their own private bounce house. Around one in the morning, a doctor came to talk to us. She explained that something was happening to one baby, their heart rate was rapidly decel-ing and the possibility of a c section was being discussed.
Panic ensued. “O….K.”
I thought that the doctor was suggesting that other options of how to keep me pregnant were going to be explored before surgery. But before I could ask what they were, a nurse was throwing scrubs at my husband and telling him to get changed. We locked eyes and he said “this is happening, we’re going to be parents today.”
The next moments moved SO fast but in my head I still see them in slow motion. Nurses began to rip my clothes off of me, and they shot something into my IV. I made the mistake of asking what they gave me and they said it was something to prevent me from throwing up with the anesthesia.
I don’t do vomit, remember?
I started hyperventilating.
The same doctor, the one I wasn’t ever supposed to see again tonight, came with paperwork I needed to sign, consenting for the c-section. I tried to ask one hundred questions. “Are they worried about the health of the babies? They’re so early.”The doctor responds, “of course.” He went on to explain the neonatal intensive care team would be standing by.
It’s explained to me that I may, or may not, hear my babies cry. All of a sudden my idea of what the delivery I had planned for these twinkies goes out the window. The doctor then presses me to sign the consent because “he doesn’t have time to explain the ins and outs to me, he needs to get my babies out.”
They separated William and I while I got the anesthesia. I try to figure out how not to lose my shit that a man is going to shove a needle in my back and I can’t stop shaking. I was numb, exposed, laying on an operating table and finally William was allowed in the room and was by my side again. There’s tugging and pulling and pressure and finally the faintest cry, the sound a newborn kitten would make. One little yelp at 2:02am followed by another at 2:03. The babies are were taken out of the room immediately. I asked if they were okay, and no one answered because they’re with the neonatal team and the only thing the people care about in the room with me is how I’m doing. I started to feel some pain and they give me the good stuff; the rest is very fuzzy but I know I became awfully chatty. That was it. In a matter of 60 minutes, I went straight from a multiples pregnancy, to multiples.
Baby A – Sullivan James
Baby B – Jennifer Estelle
And there’s plenty more to come about them later.